Life after A.J. Green need not be hard on the Dawgs. Al Dannity says Mark Richt has the makings of a very good team but getting over the hump in the SEC East will prove difficult.
The schedule The season starts hard and doesn’t get much easier. The Dawgs open with a de facto home game against Boise State in the Georgia Dome. The Broncos remain a loaded outfit and will not be overawed by the Bulldogs’ supporters. Georgia then opens SEC play with a home date against South Carolina. The Gamecocks look even stronger than the outfit that choked the Dawgs last season.
The middle of the schedule includes a tough home test against Mississippi State and the annual clash with Florida in the World’s Biggest Outdoor Cocktail Party. The tail end of the year sees defending national champions Auburn pay a visit to Athens before the Dawgs close the regular season at Georgia Tech.
The players After four straight entries with questions over the quarterback, we finally get to a team where there is no doubt about the man under center. Aaron Murray showed some of the rawness we expect from a freshman quarterback but there is no questioning his potential. With A.J. Green gone on to bigger things, Murray will rely on veteran talents Tavarres King and All-SEC tight end Orson Charles to keep the passing game going.
This is a veteran laden side with 15 returning starters in all. One notable name that Mark will be hoping avoids his injury woes of the past is offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant. Georgia’s special teams also deserve a mention as they return the All-SEC selections at punter and kicker from 2010 in the form of Drew Butler and Blair Walsh.
The forecast That tough start will put a lot of pressure on Mark Richt. It is imperative that the Dawgs avoid opening the season 0-2. Losing their biggest non-conference game and to the defending SEC East champions would be a massive blow to the confidence of this outfit. Having most of their toughest games at home will be a big help for the Bulldogs and I see them winning one or two games that they enter as underdogs. Winning the SEC East is definitely within the realm of possibility but it really comes down to how consistently Georgia performs down the stretch. Right now I like them to be in the mix but come up just short with a 9-3 season.